Bob McPhail, football legend; born October 25, 1905, died August 24, 2000

The last of the great Rangers team of the Roaring Twenties and 1930s, Bob McPhail, has left us with the memory of a very different football world. As inside-left to that incomparable winger, Alan Morton, he was one half of a partnership which would cost untold millions today.

Yet, though there are few who could even lace his boots in the modern game, the exquisitely skilled and ever-humorous McPhail had to content himself with a wage of #8 a week plus minuscule bonus for a win.

But in a less mercenary age, he was grateful to be earning that much more than his working pals elsewhere. It was an age of dignity and discipline, modesty and respect for other people. Even into old age, he had not even kept tally of his goals for Rangers until someone pointed out that he held the long-standing record which was being threatened by some upstart called McCoist!

Bob McPhail won the first of his seven Scottish Cup medals in 1924, not with Rangers but as a member of the Airdrieonian team which included that other footballing legend, Hughie Gallacher, centre-forward of the Wembley Wizards of 1928. He told me later that that Airdrie team was as good as any of the great Rangers teams in which he subsequently played.

Bob McPhail was one of seven brothers, four of whom played in the same Barrhead Ashvale team. His brother Malcolm won a Scottish Cup medal with Kilmarnock. He himself played for Scotland as a schoolboy and recalled the dressing-room scene as he waited to run on to Hampden to play against England.

A little man in bowler hat and umbrella came to pat him on the head and say ''Good luck, son!'' One boy said ''D'ye know who that is?'' The lad from Barrhead had no idea. By 1928 Bob McPhail was running on to Ibrox Park as the partner of that same man in the bowler, the Wee Blue Devil himself, Alan Morton, now immortalised in portrait at the stadium.

Incredibly, Rangers had not won the Scottish Cup in 25 years but, in that same year, McPhail played a major part in taking the trophy back to Ibrox.

He could never forget his first appearance for Scotland, against England at Hampden in 1927, when he was 22. Surprisingly, perhaps, he discovered that the older Scottish players were downing port and brandy before running out to play - and they persuaded the well-brought-up Presbyterian lad to do the same. It was disastrous.

Double vision was just the start of his problems. At half-time, Rangers manager Bill Struth dashed to the dressing-room, sussed out what had happened - and forced him to be sick before resuming play! It took a few years before he regained his international place.

Nobody meddled with the iron fist of Struth, who was responsible for the fact that Bob McPhail never played at Wembley. On the three occasions he was chosen for the game against England, he withdrew on the pretext of injury. In reality, Struth dropped the hint that an injury at Wembley might cost him his place in the forthcoming cup finals.

Playing Hearts, for example, the same manager used to take his players off the train at Haymarket and march them to Tynecastle, complete with bowler hats, white collars, blue suits, and overcoats with velvet collars, black socks and black shoes. ''With big chaps like Meiklejohn, Gray, Hamilton, Archibald, Cunningham, and myself, it must have been a fearsome sight,'' Bob once told me. ''The only wee smooches we had were Alan Morton and Tully Craig.''

Morton didn't like to disturb his neat parting by heading a ball and would protest even when an inch-perfect pass from McPhail landed at his head and not his feet. ''This game is known as FOOTball,'' the nippy little bachelor would say.

During the war, Bob McPhail worked at Weir's of Cathcart and at N B Loco, while running the Rangers reserve team. Indeed, he was in charge of the first team when Struth's health was failing, so much respected that he could have taken over as manager at Ibrox.

But he had his own electrical business to look after and turned away from the managerial life. Latterly a widower, Bob McPhail lived in the Netherlee district of Glasgow, overlooking Williamwood Golf Club, until failing health took him to residential homes in the area.

He is survived by his son Robbie and daughter Eleanor, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. His funeral is at 10.30 today at the Williamwood Church of which he was a founder-member, and an hour later at Linn Crematorium. The reception to follow is at the Bob McPhail suite at Ibrox.